I was at lunch on Wednesday with some business associates when I heard from Dr. Ohlson. The signal was dropped inside the building so I stepped outside and returned the call. Dr. Ohlson said I definitely had a tear - not what I wanted to hear but fully expected - and we discussed the options.
Should surgery be required, I would have a knee arthroscopy. Although Dr. Ohlson could do this procedure, he is a foot and ankle specialist and another surgeon in his practice would perform this operation. I believe this would be on an out-patient basis and it would take about 4 weeks to recover.
Given the tear is small and the pain has lessened since I first noticed it, I can start running again and see if I can tolerate the discomfort. Should it get more painful, I will not take a chance on making it far worse and immediately go in for the surgery.
Normally when coming back from an injury I take it slow until I am certain I am healed, "listening to the body" for any indication to back off. This situation is different. The Boston Marathon, my goal race, is April 16. If I have surgery then the sooner the better, although at this point there would be no way I could run the time I had hoped to.
If I can return to running without too much discomfort and train at a high level, I should be able to have a good race. At this point losing most of last month and having to train just to get back to that point will take at least 3 weeks. This leaves a couple of weeks to sharpen and then have a short taper.
Few marathon plans for us working mortals go according to schedule. Outside of injuries, things crop up like work deadlines or family needs or cutting a run short because of the weather. Injuries lasting a month, however, simply will not allow the typical marathoner to run their potential. You may be able to finish, as I did at the Charleston Marathon, but the race will be slow.
For me, I have come to terms that I cannot run to my potential at Boston. My training before Christmas near perfect and I had confidence I was heading toward arriving on the starting line ready to rock. Now, like Charleston, my conditioning may be closer to minimal than optimal.
My readers know what this race means to me. It would be impossible to be disappointed running one of the greatest footraces on the planet. I think to do your best would be the aim of most runners at this legendary event, and I wanted it to be all I had, no limits. It may still take all I have to run it, but not race it.
There is always next year. This would require me to run another qualifying marathon fairly soon under the BAA rules, something I will abide with even though MI athletes are given a little flexibility here. I do not expect, want, or will accept that leeway as I honor the tradition of this race.
While driving to work this morning, many of these thoughts and more were on my mind. In a moment of enlightenment, I came to understand why I, on some level, expected this injury to end this dream of running Boston. It is this: I had given up on ever being able to run this race as an able bodied runner.
I had never given up on running. But Boston? It was as far as the moon. In 1608. But here, in 2012, I was registered to run this almost mystical race. And here, in 2012, my left meniscus has torn and spoken: maybe not.
As I was thinking on these things, my eyes grew hot of thinking how it would be to stand on that starting line, with my good friends Kelly, Shariff, Scott, and Mike about to take the first step forward into this dream. How is it possible I could be here? It is beyond belief; it is something beyond anything I could imagine.
I looked into the sun, and to the right, between some clouds, I saw it.
A small slice of a rainbow appeared, heaven's chevron.
Yet another small miracle.
In this life.